I have fantasized about walking through a vineyard more times than I can count. My fantasy became true today! One item checked off from my bucket list!
I must confess that I have felt jealous when my friends talk about their vineyard experiences. I have researched countless vineyards across Ontario and Quebec and drooled over the photos and the experiences from the visitors. Each summer (for the last 6 summers), I have had it on my list of things to do but somehow never got to it. What is it that draws me to a vineyard? I believe that it all started from reading romance novels when I was in my teens. The couples who walked through the vineyards were always in love and the vineyard seems to be a perfect place to walk and celebrate their love. Some couples even got married at vineyards. I also love wine and grapes. So if you put it all together my attraction to vineyards can be summed in three words: romance, grapes and wine!
This is another re-affirmation for me that we simply need to keep on reminding ourselves of the things which we want to experience in this lifetime. The earth is our school as much as it is our playground. Whatever we can imagine has the potential of becoming our reality. Keep your visions, dreams and ideas alive by constantly revisiting them. They may not happen right away but don’t lose hope – as long as it is in the vortex, it is only a matter of becoming aligned for the manifestaion to happen.
Here are some photos to enjoy. Being in nature is the best thing for the spirit.
What is on your bucket list? Do you need to create a list of the things you wish to experience in this lifetime? Start today and go after each one!
Today I met a friend for tea and chat. It was after lunch and I was hungry for a little sweet desert. How can you resist lovely coconut macaroons that sit right on the counter at the coffee shop? I looked at her, nudging towards the macaroons. She shook her head and she said no. I really wanted it but did not want to eat a whole little macaroon, especially as I have just started my exercise routine again.
I looked at her again and said, “Let us buy one. We will share the calories.” We both started to laugh at the thought of sharing the calories. Even the server laughed with us as he engaged wordlessly with us. The broad smile on his face showed that he was pretty amused with our conversation. I instructed him to cut the little macaroon exactly in half so that the calories were shared equally. We laughed even more as we watched him perform the task to perfection. We laughed throughout our teatime, while taking tiny little bites in the little half of the macaroon, trying to savor it as much as possible. Surprisingly, the little macaroon lasted a long time!
The one hour we had booked for tea and chat went by quickly. I felt my spirit soar as I left her. Laughter has a way of healing, restoring and bringing a joyful, light spirit to a space. “Remember how beautiful and talented you are.” I told her as we said goodbye. “Don’t let anyone take that away from you.” And we laughed some more until we went our separate ways.
As we celebrate International Women’s Day, my simple message to my women friends is to remember that half a macaroon can bring so much joy when shared over a cup of tea, a heartfelt conversation, a sincere spirit and loads of laughter. Though our ups and downs, joys, successes, failures and pains of work, romances that bloom and those that leave us in the dump, entrepreneurship and raising a family, remember that #realgirlfiends are soul healers. Hold on to those women you can connect with effortlessly and pour your heart out to without any filters. Hold on to those women who will hold your hand and walk through the fire with you. Hold on to those who will bear no judgement against you, even when you know that you did the most foolish, illogical thing.
Thanks to all my wonderful girlfriends, sisters and soul sisters for the awesomeness you bring to my life. Thank you for sharing your life with this earth planet and letting your light shine brightly.
Remember to celebrate yourself every single day. YOU are awesome!
I am reading ‘BECOMING’ by former First Lady Michelle Obama, and I am enjoying every word, every sentence, every paragraph. The book is beautifully narrated and provides many pauses for deep reflection. I am not quite finished yet, but I was inspired to stop and write my own thoughts on her quote: “Failure is a feeling, long before an actual result.”
She narrates her experience of going to her counsellor to express her interest in going to Princeton.
“I’m not sure.” she said, giving me the perfunctory, patronizing smile, “that you’re Princeton material.”
Has anyone ever made you feel that you are not good enough?
As I read through the next few paragraphs, I could not help but think of the vulnerable groups of people I have worked with over the years, and how often I have had to counsel them to believe that they are good enough, worthy and have the God given rights to pursue their gifts and talents and to make a meaningful contribution to this world. The newcomer population is no different and many of us who work in the sector take it on as a professional and personal mandate to help newcomers keep their faith and believe in themselves.
In one instance, I tried to work with a recruitment company in ‘selling newcomer talent’ and was bluntly told that the clients of this recruitment company were not interested in hiring newcomers. Newcomers were actually screened OUT of competitions, simply because of being a newcomer! It had nothing to do with their qualifications, skills or experience. I felt so infuriated that the system was failing newcomers, even before they had the chance to prove themselves.
I have witnessed people’s confidence spiral downwards as they fail to get screened into competitions, fail at closing interviews, fail at being told that they lack soft skills, fail at not pronouncing words ‘correctly’ or lacking cultural competencies… the list goes on and on. Sometimes, it seems that the result of failure is what happens long after a system has decided that that a person, a group of people or groups of people will fail… and somehow that expectation is fulfilled… not because of fact… but because of a long established belief in the mind and eyes of those with the power to control the decisions.
“But as I have said before, failure is a feeling long before it’s an actual result. And for me, it felt like that’s exactly what she was planting – a suggestion of failure long before I’d even try to succeed. She was telling me to lower my sights, which was the absolute reverse of every last thing my parents had ever told me.”
“I wasn’t going to let one person’s opinion dislodge everything I thought I knew about myself. Instead, I switched my method, without changing my goal. I would apply to Princeton… I sought help from someone who actually knew me… he agreed to write me a recommendation letter.”
She goes on to explain her journey in meeting people who had climbed the road to success. “What I have learned is this: All of them had doubters. Some continue to have roaring, stadium sized collections of critics and naysayers who will shout I told you so at every little misstep or mistake. The noise does not go away, but the most successful people I know have figured out how to live with it, to lean on the people who believe in them and to push onward with their goals.“
Thankfully, I have seen many newcomers fight back like Michelle Obama. They have owned their brilliance, laughed at the naysayers, done the work needed to establish themselves in successful businesses and careers. I have also seen many champions for newcomer talent and met those will step out of their comfort zone to stand up for equality, justice, freedom and equal opportunity.
I know that the journey is not easy but it is important for all of us to move from the feeling of failure… because that feeling happens long before the actual result of failure.
My message to each newcomer who is struggling with that feeling of ‘Am I good enough to make it?’ I want to encourage you to:
go back to your heart space and find that inner wisdom to remind you that you are valuable, worthy and able to live your dreams
find that one person who will believe in you – a mentor, a friend, a coach… sometimes even a stranger!
go back to your goals and find that little ball of fire to keep you grounded and motivated
reflect on all of your positive experiences and remind yourself that your education, skills and experiences are important
connect with services to support you to develop the skills which you need to move forward
don’t give away your power to anyone. Stand rooted and believe in yourself
Above all, never feel like failure. Focus on your goals and turn ‘failure’ into success… that is how we WIN!
Thank you Michelle Obama for inspiring me to use my voice.
I came across one of my FB post from a few years back, which said, “Don’t shoot me guys…. but ladies…. this one is for you… just imagine if we could build our men like we can build a snowman. What would you create? There are no snowwomen… so guys I don’t think you could do the same to us!”
Now I cannot help but wonder how come there are no snowwomen? Gender inequality? Maybe this winter I should build a snowwoman and dress her up.
What is the origin of the snow man? My quick research shows that building snowmen goes back to the middle ages and it was built with great skills and thought. It was free art supplies for a limited time, a gift from the heavens!
I could not help but laugh as I imagined myself building a man. What would I remove? What would I add? How would I dress him? What would I create to give me this perfect being who would have the perfect measurements, the perfect size, the perfect nose, the perfect smile, the perfect hands and feet, the perfect stomach, the perfect lips…
But the things I would not be able to build are the things that matter the most – the perfect attitude, temperament, sensibilities, compassion, faithfulness, empathy, honesty, credibility, generosity, a heart full of romance, intelligence, passion and of course an amazing lover…
And so I pulled my imagination back and give a gentle reminder to myself, that truly there is no such thing as perfection. The only perfection really lies in embracing people, men or woman, in a perfect way – which means without judgement and to give to each other, the best parts of ourselves.
But maybe… just maybe…. we can build a perfect snowman and infuse all the amazing qualities which you are looking for, in him. Imagine that this infusion will get transmitted right to him… wouldn’t that be amazing! We can, perhaps after all, create the perfect men 🙂
This morning as I open my door and looked out into the forest, the sight of the frosted branches brought joy to my heart. The sun streamed down and as I looked up, it felt that the heavens has also opened up, just for me and for you and maybe for all the snowmen that are going to be built this winter.
Is it possible to find this perfect partner? I believe so and so does Emily! It is a wonderful gift to see the love that is shared between Emily and her husband Roger.
In January 2014, I sent out a Face Book request for love stories and ‘what makes you feel safe and valued’ in your relationship. At that time, I thought I was going to have an special valentine issue for Mags Magazine. Emily sent me an article about her relationship and the reasons why she feels safe in her relationship. I immediately thought “WOW!” We did not do a publication for Valentine but we thought it was a perfect article for Soulful Encounters! She has hit the nail on the head because what is working so beautifully well for them, are things that most of us want in our relationship! She clearly does appreciate the many things which Roger does – both in words and in action. A wonderful example of a positive SOULFUL ENCOUNTER.
Come out and listen to her story on May 25th, 2016 and share in the blessings of love.
Here is a little snippet on Emily:
Emily Cattelan has a zest for life and a passion for helping others succeed. She was born in a family of World War 2 Italian immigrants. Her parents, grandparents, uncles and aunts, came to Canada to make a better life for themselves and their children. In this big loving family, Emily was taught to love and respect all living things and to always help those in need. This helped to shape Emily’s belief that our most important role on this earth is to support each living thing in becoming the best that they can be. She believes that this can be accomplished through nurturing, mutual love, respect, and random acts of kindness. She has instilled these lessons in her daughter and she is looking forward to teaching her 2 young grandchildren these same lessons. She is here to share her story of how she found her perfect life partner
Look out for our next featured couple: Dale and Trevor Stevenson!
Over the last few months I have listened to many, many experiences of others expressing disappointment, disillusionment, frustration… not getting what they want or not having love returned to them or not being in the ideal job with the ideal wages or benefits. With age and wisdom, I have come to realize that there are some things we can control and others we have absolutely no control over. I also know that we can choose our battles.
We can control what we do with our time, our money, who we let in our lives, who we have sex with, who we have a relationship with, who we eat with, which charities we give to, how we dress, whether we sit all day on the couch or get some exercise in our day, how many job applications we do each day, which companies we apply to, which university or college to attend, what type of wine and food we eat… all of these are within our control.
We cannot control who loves us back, who hires us, who says whatever about us, who chooses not to be in a relationship with us, who likes or shares our social media posts and most of all we cannot control life and death.
I believe that the simplest way to reclaim and love ourselves back to wholeness after being disillusioned and disappointed, is to start taking note of the small and big things which we have control over to direct our path the best we can. It is not the ‘things and people’ we need to change to get a different result. We need to change how we think about our situation and to be immersed in thinking and doing things which raise our vibrational energy to the higher vibrations of love, peace, joy… When we feel these strong, powerful emotions the people in our lives also begin to change. Negative people cannot stand being around deeply positive people… they flee away. When they flee away, don’t worry about why they are no longer your friends. It simply means that you are making space for more beautiful people to enter your life. Sometimes, people are simply not in alignment with our energy at a particular time in life but they resurface at another point. Our vibrational energy determines who and what comes into our lives.
Take your power back… don’t try changing people… change YOUR vibrational energy. It can begin with something as simple as using positive affirmations daily:
“I love myself. I choose peace, joy, happiness in my life.”
“I love doing things which make my soul feel happy and radiant.”
“I am grateful for my life. I will use my life to be of service to others.”
“I am love. I am peace. I am joy.”
Personally, I engage in small acts of love, kindness compassion as much as I can every day. I enjoy gardening, reading, meditating, praying and writing because these things replenish my soul energy. I pay attention to others and compliment them when I see the beauty in what they do because by lifting someone else, I add a beautiful uplifting energy in the world. I dress beautifully and exercise regularly because I want my body to know that I love and respect it.
If we don’t love and respect ourselves enough, how are other people going to love and respect us?
Live your future now by stop blaming others and start focusing of yourself. YOU are so worth every bit of love and good energy which you invest in yourself.
“One thing I’ve learned in life is that I can speak for myself, that I can fight my own battles. I don’t like anyone telling me how I’m supposed to feel or think or what I’m supposed to say.” ― Hope Solo
I bit my tongue several times as my mind whirled trying to find words to articulate my truth and say exactly what I felt. It was painful as I watched the lies unfold and people diplomatically fluffed their way out of an uncomfortable situation using their art of diplomacy and power. The empty words of “opportunity” “collaboration” suddenly seem to lose their true meaning and became a vehicle for deceit, denying the truth, protecting territory, protecting their sphere of control and power.
I left feeling choked, unheard and angry. And these are a few of the emotions which drain us, make us sick, build protective walls around us. These unheard feelings from the heart and soul leads to war, distrust and ongoing conflict. Anger, very often is portrayed as an unhealthy emotion but I have learnt that when anger surfaces in our lives, we must give it a voice because something led to it.
I have always believed that being diplomatic is essential to get things done, avoid conflict, settle disputes and generally keep you on good terms with every one. It is a mindset for me to get along with every one! Although I still believe this, recent experiences makes me wonder whether diplomacy also makes us loose our voices, become “YES” people and tolerate what our souls know is not healthy for us or the rest of the world.
Most of our jobs and our lives generally require us to be diplomatic. What do you do when something is obviously wrong but you have to be the diplomatic person to save the deal, protect the company, protect the image of your colleague, friend, family boss or partner?
One of the greatest energy suckers or energy vampires in not being able to speak your truth for fear of the consequences – losing an opportunity, losing friendships, losing deals, losing promotions, losing long-term gains. We cover our authenticity with “sweet talk”, play on words, lack of clarity, over promise or under promise… any thing to avoid conflict and direct openness.
But do you know what happens at the end of all this diplomacy from a personal perspective? We lose ourselves. We betray our souls. We sell ourselves way too short. We live half fulfilled lives and in some cases we lose our dreams completely. Our eyes lose their shine and our energy simply cannot rise to meet the higher levels for self actualization and spiritual depth.
What would it feel like if you simply told the truth? What if you did not have to be diplomatic for one day? What would you do differently? Would you tell a few people to F…. off? Would it release some pressure from your heart and soul? Do you have a responsibility to be authentic to yourself?
For each lie we tell our soul, keeps us further and further away from the life we are meant to live.